Friday, March 1, 2013

Clearly, I Must be Confused

Quilt Con was an amazing experience and as I mentioned previously, there was a lot to process. I am hoping that you are not wanting the sugar coated version of my experience, but my personal, heartfelt opinion.

I didn't take all that many photos of the quilts (too busy taking it all in) but here are just a few favorites of mine....so amazing to see these in real life.


Anne's Quilt

Kati's Quilt

Dan's Quilt

Leanne's Quilt

Chawne's Quilt

Here comes the confusing part:

I struggled each day, as I walked through the quilt show. The quilts ranged from exquisite, powerful, playful, beautiful and amazing, to mediocre and all the way to "how did this even get in here??".

The judging of the quilts was the main source of my confusion. At times, I feel they were dead on and other times I can't  believe what was overlooked and what was chosen. The juried quilts and the quilts for exhibit  were mixed together contributing to the confusion...especially if one is not familiar with some of the more well known quilters and their work.
  • Some of the quilts just did not fit their categories all that well.
  • One of the "buzz" words seems to be the term "Negative Space"....if you have that, you're in, even if it is not all that effectively executed. 
  • Originality did not seem to be rated of high importance.
  • Some of the workmanship was perhaps not quite as high as I believe it should be.
  • There was quite range of quilting...I felt some were under-quilted and I actually felt some were over quilted giving them a very ornate look. Of course, many were beautifully quilted and some were just plain poorly quilted.
  • Many were more traditional than I expected.
  • Some were powerful and thought provoking.
  • Some were a little controversial...making me think, if we can be that way in our quilting perhaps we can be that way in our blogging.
Detail of Colour Shot
In the belief of full disclosure....the fact that Colour Shot was not accepted into the show was a bigger struggle for me, than I had anticipated. It actually hurt, because it felt unfair. In my eyes, it clearly fit all the criteria of being a modern quilt.....but clearly, I must be confused. (I know, I know...I really need to let this go)

More on the classes, the lectures and the wonderful fellow quilters to come.


125 comments:

  1. I am shocked that Colour Shot was not accepted! I'm sure the whole event was amazing - not having gone myself, but just based on some of what I've seen and read over the last few days, your comments are not out of line. Thank you for posting and giving us your thoughts.

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    1. Thanks...I thought long and hard about what to write but felt strongly about sharing what I was really thinking.

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  2. I must say, having seen photos of the quilts there I do not understand why yours was not included either.
    X

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    1. Thanks Sarah, I would actually love to see pictures of other quilts that were not accepted.

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  3. Not sure what the criteria was when quilts were juried into the show, but to me, Colour Shot is very much a modern quilt and I love it! I wasn't at QuiltCon, but have seen a lot of pics from it, and there are some quilts that completely knocked my socks off, and others that I wondered about.
    Keep up the awesome work - you have many admirers!

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  4. As I was walking the floor at Quilt Con you actually came to mind several times. I actually had the same thought of shock, that your quilt was not accepted. It would have fit much better with the display than several that I did see. The only thing I could think of to explain it was 1. There was a simple mistake and someone sent the wrong letter. or 2. it was personal. Your quilt is so beautiful it makes me wonder if modern quilting has become to much of a clique. It is a sad thought, but do quilts get chosen based on the social relationships of the quilter?

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    1. Thanks Katie...but I really don't think either one of those was the case. I personally believe it's because the definition of the word modern in the quilting world is too narrow and certain trends and colours are being used as a judging criteria...we need a much more expansive point of view.

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  5. I'm flattered you included my quilt in your list of favorites. Thanks for your perspective about QuiltCon. I wonder if I might have had similar feelings wandering the quilts. My feelings about quilt shows in general haven't changed. I struggle with the idea of choosing the "best" quilt among a collection that is so varied in style and construction. Your quilt will always make my list of favorites!

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  6. Ditto to the comments above.... I am still scratching my head wondering what makes something is a modern quilt or not. some of those that have so much white background and heavy quilting just look more like mattress pads to me, but what do I know??? Hope I can attend Quilt Con next year. Don't get discouraged, your quilt is amazing, but I agree it would be nice to know the reason why your quilt was not included.

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    1. The mattress pads gave me a good laugh as well...really need to keep our sense of humour don't we.

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    2. Don't even get me started on that mattress pad quilting!

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    3. Aha, yes, mattress pads, great!

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    4. I'm sure the mattress pad quilting comment was not intended to be hurtful, but it made me draw my breath on reading it. You see, it may very well be my quilt that you are referring to. While you may not like or appreciate it, which is very much your choice and right, I am very proud of the quilting I did on it.

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    5. You are absolutely right....I'm sorry, no offense meant but I can see that it could be hurtful.

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  7. I've been very surprised that your quilt wasn't accepted as well. It is stunning and I would love to see it in person. Thanks for your honest appraisal of the experience.

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  8. Amidst all the glowy-eyed comments from bloggers who were at QuiltCon, yours are refreshingly clear-eyed. I agree totally with your assessment of the quilts that were juried in. The range of "admissible" quilts was narrow, leaving out much that interests me in modern quilting (including your quilt!). It also meant there was a lot of repetition of types of quilts. Yes, there were a number of quilts I liked very much, but there weren't enough that stimulated extensive looking. According to the profile of Rashida Coleman-Hale (in the free lectures available on Craftsy), this was the first show she ever judged, and it seems that she was the only judge. Maybe this was part of the problem.

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    1. Thanks Penny...I thought there was more than on judge I'm really not sure. If anyone has that info it would be great to know.

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    2. First time judging... when you want to become a jury member here in Europe, you have to follow some classes!

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    3. That's interesting....I know very little about the judging process.

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  9. While I have not seen all that many quilts from QuiltCon, I too wondered how some got in. Thank you for your honest observations.

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  10. lots i could say here, but one thing that I've noticed in all the QuiltCon posts is a very tight definition of modern and the "us vs them" mentality.I'm not a traditional, precise piecing quilter, but I'm not necessarily modern according to the definition (or lack of definition). I think you quilts are wonderful in general and this one in particular is really great too. the only solace that I can offer is that judging is subjective. You're a winner in my eyes!

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  11. It was just one show.
    I continue to puzzle the direction of quilting in general. The hanging space was so limited at QuiltCon that I wish the members of the Modern board could have chosen to not shown their own work. To my mind, it just didn't look good. Instead of an Old Boys Club, we seem to have a Young Girls Club in our midst.
    I'm sure mine didn't belong there either. I guess to prove it, I have not seen it in anyone's discussion of the weekend.

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    1. Thanks Beth...it is a puzzle indeed. I actually did enjoy seeing the work of the Modern board but as I mentioned I would have liked to see it hung separately.

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  12. I echo your thoughts all quilts whether modern or traditional shoul be well excecuted. Your quilting is awesome and truley modern.

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  13. First, thanks for including my quilt in your post!

    More importantly, your quilts seem very modern to me. You know I'm a big fan, and it's a shame your quilt wasn't accepted to the show.

    I do think the 'negative space' card is overplayed, and considered in a very narrow fashion. For example, I feel like my quilts are all about positive and negative space, but I think about it slightly differently than the fad, using prints and piecing to create depth and movement. And so I don't really fit in either.

    Looking through the winners, I can't really judge the workmanship or the quilting. I did find many of the quilts beautiful and/or inspiring, but I was truly surprised by how many struck me as wrote and dull . What exactly were the judges looking for? I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. Looking back at last year's quarterly MQG challenges, many of the winners struck me the same way. I wonder if the judges were given the same criteria?

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    1. Very well said, Dan....I love your work and truly value your input as an artist.

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    2. I figured that's what you meant.

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  14. Why didn't yours get in? My guess from looking at the chosen quilts and looking at your fabulous quilt is that your color scheme doesn't fit into some arbitrary definition of what the "modern" quilters are using. There is no white (or grey) and also the colors (or color combo) aren't what "they" are calling "fresh" (a word I abhor when it comes to color). You gotta remember that these categories are SO subjective!
    And I agree (from what I've seen online) in that there were quite a few unoriginal quilts presented, which really baffled me.

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    1. Baffled is a great word...and I agree with what you are saying. Perhaps the definition of the word Modern in the quilt world is becoming a little too narrow.

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  15. This has been discussed elsewhere, but many people think "modern" just means "young people getting excited about doing something that their grandparents have been doing for a long time." I kind of agree with that,so I suppose we should just grin and help them promote what we all like to do anyway.
    I shouldn't assume your age because I don't know what it is, but I think younger quilters have kind of latched on to the idea that they are creating a new movement in quilting. I certainly think that your quilt (and all your quilts) are beautiful and would qualify to be in any kind of art display.
    Maybe because it was the first show, there will be a maturation process in decision making as the board develops criteria in judging. I agree with others that shows in general are so subjective.

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  16. It is baffling that your quilt never made it in. Your quilt is exactly what modern quilting is to me. I remember taking a class by a famous quilter (think it was Vicki Pignatelli). She said a quilt she had entered in a big show was turned down (she was crushed). It later went on to win best in show at an even more prestigious show. I'm betting that will be the case with yours!

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    1. Thanks Corina...it really is part of the process.

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  17. I sometimes feel that the Modern Quilting is really about being as far removed from the what most who belong to it perceive as the Traditional Quilting. I wonder if anyone involved has actually entered or worked with a traditional quilt show where there are many criteria for entry, and category including originality and workmanship. I am not a young (in age) quilter, but I have felt out of place at traditional quilt guilds. I suspect I would feel the same at a modern one. I had hoped that modern quilting would be less judgmental and all inclusive, but that does not seem the case. I'm sorry your quilt wasn't chosen. It should have been.

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    1. Thanks Pam...it can be difficult to find where one fits, but I don't plan to change my style to fit a certain criteria, anytime soon. We had some wonderful discussions on the subject at hand at Quilt Con and I cannot believe how many wonderful people I met.

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  18. I wasn't at QuiltCon, and I'm a fairly new follower of yours, so this is the first time I've seen your Colour Shot quilt and I'm in awe. It is absolutely stunning and my opinion is that it would have been a winner, had they accepted it. Your honesty is refreshing, and we all understand your disappointment and confusion. Just remember - the person you need to please first is you.

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    1. I agree...making what one loves is definitely the way to go.

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    2. There you go! Don't limit yourself to fit into a category, be your original self. Your quilt is the quintessential definition of modern in my dictionary.

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    3. You're the best blogging buddy, Mary, always so supportive.

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  19. Thank you for such a candid expression of your experience. Being in Australia, I didn't go, but your views reflect many of my thoughts on the 'modern' movement in general. While I encourage people to make any quilts they choose, I feel that labelling a certain style as modern lends a somewhat negative bent to the many other styles of quilts which really are modern - it somehow implies that these others are fuddy-duddy, and I resent that. Why do they even need to label themselves? I could never come up with a suitable label to encompass my various styles if I tried! I also feel that the modern quilt movement devalues skill and quality (not to say that the are all poorly made) which adds to the resentment. In the interests of disclosure, I am a relatively young, but also experienced quilter.

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    1. Thanks for sharing your thoughts Emma....there were many, many beautifully made quilts in the show, don't get me wrong.

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    2. mod·ern [mod-ern]
      adjective
      1.
      of or pertaining to present and recent time; not ancient or remote: modern city life.
      2.
      characteristic of present and recent time; contemporary; not antiquated or obsolete: modern viewpoints.
      3.
      of or pertaining to the historical period following the Middle Ages: modern European history.
      4.
      of, pertaining to, or characteristic of contemporary styles of art, literature, music, etc., that reject traditionally accepted or sanctioned forms and emphasize individual experimentation and sensibility.

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  20. I am a new follower And a new quilter - but in my humble opinion your quilt is far more deserving of having been in the show than many that I have seen pics of from Quiltcon. Your quilt seems much more a piece of modern "Art" than a "Quilt". I find your work absolutely stunning and original. Sometimes I feel like a lot of what I see labeled as a Modern Quilt to be something I've seen before just repositioned or resized on a field of Gray. Blah! Keep up your great work - if you start to worry about fitting into someone elses definition you'll lose your originality!

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    1. Thanks so much....I agree, we really do need to follow our own quilting bliss.

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  21. So glad to read this, it was so refreshing. I was nominated for best pieced category of the Blogger's Quilt Festival when you won. I was shocked to hear that my quilt (Fire & Ice) didn't make it, and then I read your post "we regret to inform you". After telling my husband our two quilts didn't make it, his response was, "well who did? And what were the judges thinking?" That's always the worst feeling. I've had it many a time, having applied to a lot of juried art shows (for graphite works, not quilts) in the past. It's no fun to see other quilts that got in that you think were not as good as your quilt. And since the blogging atmosphere for modern quilting tends to be overflowing with good vibes and a "we're all amazing" mentality, it was so refreshing to hear someone write exactly what I was thinking! When you mentioned the "negative space card", I totally agree...and think that might be part of why mine didn't make it. Le sigh.

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  22. I remember your quilt well, Amy. I just went to check to make sure I had the right one in mind. It is absolutely amazing....now I am even more confused. Thanks so much for your input.

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  23. I will just echo everyone else. I have loved Colour Shot since the first moment I saw it. I would not put it in any category other than modern. I have been astounded by the debates I have seen online about what is modern and what is not. Does it matter? Is modern not something of the here and now rather than the past? You made a quilt that most of us could only dream of creating and so many of us admire you. I hope that is some small consolation for the whole QuiltCon thing.

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  24. i hope these comments are some consolation for the lack of vision from those that chose the quilts for the show.....yours is an amazing piece of work and i was thrilled to see it 'in person 'in the uk last year. i loath all this snobbery and labels....surely this is about us expressing ourselves in this art form.....making things we love and proudly sharing....dont let others spoil it for you....the loss is that visitors to the show didnt get to see what you created.they missed a treat.

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  25. At least your quilts are not red and aqua on a white or gray background ;]
    At least your blog does not push lines of fabric on the above colors.
    At least your blog and quilts are NOT BORING.
    Nuff said keep up the good work.

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  26. P.S. where would Freddy Moran fit.sit in quiltcon ?

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  27. Well I can honestly say you are not the only one who is confused - I am too .....
    The no reason whatsoever, that I can see, as to why you quilt could not be shown, let alone accepted into a juried category. I've seen some photos from Quiltcon and have seen at least one quilt that was very traditional in block and format, and only slightly adapted in a way towards being modern.
    Sometimes I think the whole juried aspect of quilt shows actually causes more upset and distress, we all, including judges have or favourite types and styles of quilts and quilting so how can judging not have a slight a background bias on occasion. Is there maybe this bias hovering around in the background with your stunning quilt as it is a QAYG construction - it makes you wonder!

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  28. Do not, I repeat, do not let your experience with this exhibit stop you from entering your quilt in another exhibit. One "man's" opinion is not that of another. I entered a quilt in an exhibit and was shot down because the corners weren't sewn tight. The same quilt won a blue ribbon and a thousand dollars in another exhibit. Do try to let go of your hurt or confusion of this exhibit and move on. Your work is too good to be affected by this.

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    1. No worries on that front.....perhaps it's the judges that are confused.

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  29. It seems that everything I would have said has already been said. Having seen many pictures (I did not attend the show) I am curious just exactly what the term "Modern" is supposed to mean.
    Your quilts/blog have inspired me to try new things (Including many, many new design walls) and I look forward to learning more from you.

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  30. In my humble opinion, and from what I have seen of Quilt Con over the internet, (with the exception of Chawne's work, which I love incidentally) your quilt is an Art Quilt, while those at Quilt Con, as lovely as they were, (I would happily put my name to any of the ones I have seen), could just as easily be classed as bed quilts, maybe not in size but certainly in design. I don't say this to diminish them in any way I love them but your work has a design element, which I think is comparable with abstract artists. Don't be disheartened. Your work is individual and stands out from the crowd.

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    1. I agree completely! You are sooo talented and a huge source of inspiration for sooo many of us. Please do not lose heart and keep following your artistic insticts!

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  31. A few years ago, there was a judged (one judge) quilt show. There were any number of amazing quilts at the show, both in design and workmanship. The quilt judged the best of show...THE BEST OF SHOW, mind you...was almost an exact copy of a quilt from a quilt book...could easily have been a kit made from the book's image. It was a simple, strip-pieced quilt, which could easily have been completed in a couple day's time, and it was then quilted with a pantograph all-over design. Not bad looking, but very ordinary. My first thought at seeing the award was that the judge must have been paid off! With more thought, I concluded that this judge was at a point in her career that responded to the scrap/value play in the quilt, and I assumed she had not seen the published quilt that the winning quilt had actually been copied from. As others have observed, perhaps the problem stems from having one judge...not because that judge is not good and honest and thoughtful, but because one judge offers only one perspective, and has only one bank of knowledge from which to withdraw his/her conclusions. As for me, your quilts excit me and make me want to get to work creating, and I'm sure that is true of most all your followers. I will continue to watch as you continue to share your beautiful pieces.

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    1. Interesting thoughts....thanks so much.

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  32. I, like many who have commented were not at QuiltCon, so will only comment on your experience as just that, the experience. We as creative people are very sensitive and when we create something that we are pleased with we love it when others find it attractive as well. In a competition setting I believe there are two factors at play--different strokes for different folks, and politics.

    Sometimes it is something about the colors, shapes, etc. in the design that either make the judge like it or not like it. Your quilt could have come up in the jury process at the end of the session when they were just too tired to make a good decision. That could be part of the reason poor crafting/sewing was juried in.

    The other reason could be politics. It is everywhere. Friends jurying in friends, etc. I have never sat on a jury but have seen politics in play--it is there, especially in a small world like the quilting circuit.

    Don't be discouraged. Your work is admired by so many and this is just one show. I would love to have as many readers of my blog as you have and comments!? I barely have any. So be grateful and move on from this hurtful episode in your career. Unfortunately, there are many more to come, as the art/craft life is one full of highs and lows because our work is so personal to us.

    Quilt on through all crises--to play on the famous quote of a famous knitter, Elizabeth Zimmermann.

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    1. No worries....I will be "quilting on".

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  33. I think your artwork is stunning. I think your craftsmanship is impeccable. I believe there were two judges. Anyways, we all know art is subjective. That they didn't see to include your quilt is obviously bad judgment. The attendees missed out on seeing your style up close and personal this year! Perhaps, next year will be a different story. Keep sewing! You obviously have a large fan base who believe in what you do! Me included!

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  34. One last comment. One of my quilts was accepted into the National Quilt Association show and won nothing. The same quilt won 2nd place in the same category at the AQS show . Don't let that stop you from entering shows. I feel that often beauty is in the eye of the judge/beholder, who has a short amount of time to glance over hundreds of quilts. I wouldn't be a judge for any amount of money. Wait, let me rephrase: any amount of money under $10,000.00.

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  35. After reading your post, I went and checked out flickr.
    You are not wrong! I see a lot of 'modern' quilts made from traditional blocks.
    I think there is a lot of confusion over the word 'modern'.
    You quite clearly are a modern quilter, I think the problem is that the modern quilting guild are more about 'modern' as in whats happening right now, trending etc..

    I'm an eppiecer just trying out some modern, your blog is where I turn to for inspiration.

    There are far too many quilt police about...why cant we all just get along?
    sorry I'm a hippie too x

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    1. ps. just had a look at your gorgeous quilt....beggars belief!!!!!!

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  36. Thank you for your honesty. I was at QuiltCon and looked at quilts and wondered why they were accepted into the show. Continue to do your wonderful work and hopefully sometime soon I will be able to your work in person.

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  37. Mari, I really appreciate your candor. I am at a loss, too, as to why your quilt was not juried in. To me it is the quintessential example of contemporary or modern. Thanks for sharing your knowledge and insight with us!

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  38. Hi!!! Your quilt is amazing!!! Awesome!!!

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  39. Mari, I too can't believe your quilt didn't make it!!! I love your style and am trying your quilt as you go tutorials! Thanks for sharing your process! I hope to make quilts as beautiful as yours one day!! Keep up the above and beyond work!! erin

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  40. I agree your quilt should have been in there. I did not go to the show but have seem many pictures. I do not believe that modern quilting is only for your people. Many quilters have been modern in their day and still are. Negative space is not the only thing in my definition of modern. And certainly I did question many of the quilt that I saw that were not what I would call modern /unique at all. And may I add beautiful and tasteful. And this is all I will say about the one quilt in question. All your work is inspiring and modern to me. I have been following your blog for some time now. I am even questioning if I want to be in the modern quilt guild because of some of this. The jury is still out on that one.

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    1. Young people (not your people)

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    2. Hi Brenda
      I hope you won't let something as subjective as the judging effect your decision....the positives far outweigh the negatives.

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  41. In my ever so humble opinion quilt shows should be just that...places where people can show what they are proud of and where those of us who are too chicken can feast our eyes on the cleverness of others. Maybe a special category for those who want to win prize money? Probably a naive attitude...but I just feel for all those people who had the opportunity to see your quilt but missed out because of the opinion of a minority. Please show it again. In Paducah next year. We are planning a trip all the way from New Zealand to fit in with that show and I would almost kill to see it.
    Not kill you, you understand! Just figuratively kill...

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  42. What makes your quilt "different" from those I have seen online from Quiltcon is your quilt (all of your quilts) have emotion, depth, maturity, artistry, thought and sophistication. I am a big fan of yours and your work is constant inspiration for me which I cannot thank you enough for!

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  43. I want to thank everyone for being so supportive. I'm really not planning to let this effect my work and do believe it is part of the process. Your belief in my work is overwhelming....I can't thank you enough.

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  44. Mari, I can't believe your quilt didn't make it! It should have for MANY reasons! One, it clearly has a modern feel! Two, anyone that reads your blog knows you have a CLEAR unique style. Three, you have an ability to put colors together(solids, no-less) that many...I mean MANY can't achieve. I could go on. You have a winning quilt in my book;)This is only the first Quiltcon, so don't let it discourage you from trying again. Your quilts are awesomely modern!!!

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  45. Oh, one more thing, I have a very controversial quilt in my head. You may have just given me the nudge to go for it...although I might lose some of the followers I have. But if I can't be myself on my blog, then how can I be in real life? I'm doing the quilt...I just need to get a few things finished first.

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    1. Thanks Danielle...I'm interested to see what you create.

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  46. I’m getting so confused by the whole Modern or Modified or Contemporary and Negative Space labels they put on quilts. Who’s to define what’s what. I enjoyed seeing pictures of the quilts exhibited at Quiltcon because I would never be able to visit a conference like that, but I really wondered about some quilts that were accepted and some ribbons that were won!
    Staying true to yourself will be the best answer! Your quilts are stunners!

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    1. Thanks, Nicolette, I see I'm in good company.

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  47. I am re-entering the quilting world as I leave the funk caused by the loss of my mom. As I have been reading blogs lately, I was trying to wrap my head around the whole modern quilting thing. I never did manage to understand it, and although the explanations seem to all include an anything goes sort of mentality, but I call BS - I am finding the movement quite more judgmental than any of the traditional quilting fogies.

    What I have decided is that I will do what pleases me and not try to fit into any definition put out by someone else. I also probably won't be getting the new lines of designer fabrics or even switching to solids, because I need to use some of what I already have where possible.

    i think your quilt is breathtaking. I also want to thank you for sharing so much information on QAYG.

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    1. I'm so sorry for your loss. I agree that making what you love is the way to go.

      Thanks...and yes I'm always on the QAYG soap box,aren't I.

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  48. Mari, I don't blog but I read lots of them. I find yours indispensable for generous instruction plus inspiration. You never follow the crowd! And that is a mark of true artistry. Mary Keasler is right there with you--I wish I shared your originality, but at least your blogs are helping me find my own voice.

    If I had been to Quilt Con and had not seen work by either of you, I would have been disappointed that you had chosen not to send it. I would never have believed this alternative!

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  49. First of all, I'd like to thank you for including my quilt as one of your favorites. I'm honored as I consider your work so inspiring. After seeing some of the quilts online I really don't understand what was accepted/not accepted. Yours belonged in my opinion. And I am just as confused as you are. Especially in regards to the negative space thing. My quilt was not even entered in that category and the QuiltCon people switched it to negative space. Personally I still don't view it as a negative space quilt. Mostly I'm really glad to see so many of my own thoughts about "modern" put into words. I'm a mid century quilter age wise and for many many years never really felt there was a good fit to my style. I'm not an art quilter although I sometimes think I would like to push in that direction. I'm not really traditional in my fabric choices but am in awe of the detail and skill of experienced traditional quilters. The modern movement seemed to perhaps finally be a place that fit a little better. But after a year of reading blogs I'm as confused as you must feel. I'm beginning to feel a bit of rebellion against the idea of labeling in general. This is funny too because I just got involved in a brand new modern quilt guild. Hoping maybe we can be less strict and judgmental. For me I'm hoping for a real life group to simply share the quilting experience without the confines of strict labels. My conclusion is to make what I like and am inspired to create. My quilts may at times be "modern" and at other times not, but at least they will be from fabrics I love and not what everyone deems the "in" fabric of the month. Keep doing what you do oh so very well by making those beautiful abstract compositions full of amazing color and texture. Sorry to have rambled. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  50. Well, one of my quilts was accepted. I had the giddy excitement of being in a show. I reveled in seeing my quilt on others' photo streams. I received my quilt back yesterday. Along with it was a judges critique. It was really harsh. My husband even said if they hated it that much why did they accept it in the first place?
    After some time to process, I have to surmise, it was purely subjective. The critique was all visual and up to the personal taste of the judge. I was under no illusion I would win or place, but to say my quilting design did not go with my quilt was a bit subjective. I was never asked to explain the symbolism of my quilt. I am not a fan of straight-line, walking-foot quilting. I find it boring to do. I also feel there was no delineation between long-arm quilting and domestic machine quilting, and found it interesting that 2 of the first place winners are "professionals" in quilting. But hey, it is their show so they can run it how they wish.
    My last gripe: I paid $30 to enter the jury process, I entered the maximum number, 3 quilts) and had 1 accepted. I paid to ship and insure it. It hung for the duration of the show. Those who attend the show, and paid the $10 entry received swag bags of samples and goodies. I just got a negative critique.
    MariQuilts- I am a HUGE fan of your work. It is evocative and beautiful. It was truly QuiltCon's loss not to have it hang. I am not sure I will contribute to this show again. I have had quilts in AQS shows, where the judges are trained, and received criticism that did not make me feel so bad from quilters whose opinions I value.
    Besides, I quilt for me, not for anyone else. Thanks for letting me vent!

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    1. Thanks Kelly for your kind words. I'm so sorry your experience was so negative...that's not good.

      I saw so many quilts, I'm not sure which one was yours.

      I agree with your comments regarding the quilting, some different categories would be welcome.

      Again I'm sorry for your you had to go through that. Thanks for sharing it with us.

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  51. IMHO, your quilt is art, all of your quilts are art, inspirational and thought provoking. I am envious of your improvisational skills, something I am sorely lacking. I studied piano for nine years and wasn't able to improvise music either. I think it's something you have or don't have. I don't believe it can be learned.

    I'm actually quite surprised that it bothered you so not to be accepted at QuiltCon. In my eyes, you are more advanced. Your work should be in a gallery, not a quilt show. ;D

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    1. Thank you so much, that means a lot. I'm surprised it bothered me as well....I just couldn't figure out why. Then when I saw the actual show, I found the judging all round quite confusing.

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  52. Your quilt is beautiful and I felt its absence in the show.

    I wonder if the confusion and other problems stem from the unquantifiable aspects of the "modern" quilting movement. It was my impression that one of the defining qualities of the movement was rule breaking, but now it is confusing at least to me because now there are new rules. Or maybe it's not confusing, just ironic?

    I did enjoy the show, and I left with lots to think about, both good and bad.

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  53. I was quite surprised your quilt wasn't accepted. I do have to say I totally agree with Bending Pins - your work does belong in an art gallery - I have not been a "modern" quilt lover, but you totally inspire me. I have pegged out time at the end of this month to try something for my son who loves modern art. You provide us with so much inspiration.

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  54. I think we're at the beginning of a shift in the art form somehow, and there are going to be some growing pains in figuring everything out. I haven't been able to quite define my thoughts on the whole issue, but I think it's good to keep the conversation going about art, and the value of what we make.

    I found the comment about quality interesting because from submission photos it may be difficult to tell the quality of construction. I've held back from submitting to shows because I know my stitch length is not always consistent, but I sometimes wonder if everyone has the same standards.

    I'm also curious because one of my favorite quilts that I've seen from the show was the winner in the improvisational category, but I've hardly seen it photographed on any blogs!

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  55. I love your quilt too! Your post has the bees buzzing!
    I have posted on my blog the 2013 Judging Checklist that I got in the mail today. I don't know if this will help you get your head around what they were looking for but I found it interesting.

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  56. i agree with alot of what has been said and disagree with some...i will say that i was shocked that there were only 2 judges! that's crazy! as much as judges try to be objective (based on criteria) there is always a subjective side to things, intentional or not. just having 2 judges is not enough to 'even out the field' if you know what i mean. i would never agree to be one of 2 judges. too much riding on my shoulders! Secondly, i don't even know what criteria they were judging on. Shouldn't that have been made known?

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  57. I too attended QuiltCon and found myself standing there in the exhibit area wondering how some quilts made it into the show. But, hey, I'm a newbie at quilting. What do I know? I'm a big fan of your blog and absolutely love your quilts and am sorry to hear your disappointment at not having one of your quilts selected in the show. That it should have, I'll leave it to you and others to opine about. But I do agree that if what we saw at QuiltCon is what Modern Quilting is about, we're in for a very bland, myopic, inbred ride of a movement.

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  58. I'm not sure what is more entertaining - reading your great post here or reading the comments!! So refreshing to hear some honesty. So let me add my outspoken honest opinion. This whole "Modern" quilt movement is a huge pet peeve to me. To me to say that a quilt is a "modern" it should be totally different from what traditional quilters are doing. To me most are not. Sure they have a fresh take on traditional quilt - good! - great in fact!! but is it something new? Nope!! You want modern - start looking at innovative techniques art quilters keep coming up with. I'm truly glad to see the "modern" movement bring a new generation in but I would love to see them be less prideful about their take on quilting. There is a ton for quilters to learn!

    As for this show and their jury process - its not much different from other national shows - I always feel the way you voiced in your post. I've made a rule for myself - don't put your work out there unless you are VERY sure that you are ready to hear it stinks - so you need to be VERY strong in your vision. ALSO if you get into a show and win - its not really a reflection on your work - its more like a lottery win - because I think that most judging is purely random whether judges want to admit it or not!

    To me the best judgement of my art quilts is when someone give me their hard earned cash for a piece - it truly humbles me and I treasure that feeling.

    Love your piece - it is the show's lost!!!

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    1. Its been a great discussion, that's for sure. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

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  59. I've been inspired by all the quilts in one way or another. I have my favorite blogger/ quilters. I love a modern, unique style and even more when the artistic well of that quilter consistently produces modern unique. Dan and Marianne YES! And others too. My take is that anytime you put your art, heart and soul out for judging it's risky or rewarding. Either way... you made the journey. I've done this with the work I've entered in needlework shows. We're dealing with humans, politics, judgement, educated artistic eye and their OWN ego. Hurts, but, it's the game. I've seen the same in dog shows, agility, and car shows. Luckily, thanks to the blogistphere we have the advantage of seeing great art like Marianne's and all the rest. I'm inspired.

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  60. Andy and I are relatively new to the "world" of quilting and as of yet we have not found a niche that we would call our own. We are experimenting with traditional, art, utilitarian, and what we think is modern. We are also becoming "climatized" to the many different subsets of the quilting environment. Our entry to QuiltCon, EssbeeCon was/is, in our minds a combination of tradtional and modern. We chose the fabrics, as identified by the QuiltCon logo and we felt it was a valid choice. We entered, as we do with all recent competitions, to receive constructive criticism from those of whom we expect to be experienced. The judge's assessment that we received indicated that our quilt was very well constructed and pieced. The main issue and negative issue, according to the comments, with our QuiltCon entry was the use of the colors. What we do not understand is that the colors we used were the QuiltCon colors. There appears to be some sort of disconnect...

    I would presume that an Escher-, a Klmit-, a Mondrian-, a Dali-, a Frank Lloyd Wright inspired quilt may have been excluded from the Modern Quilt category if they were created without grey, shale, white, or cream. Colour Shot in our opinion is a classic modern quilt form... But then again that is just two novices lowly opinion.

    Jim and Andy, Quilts SB

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    1. And an opinion I'm so glad you shared. Thanks so much.

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  61. When your quilt is not accepted, yet they hang two F**K quilts, something is very very wrong with the selection process. I also was a bit confused with some of the quilt choices, such as the "old" modern quilts, that just looked like old quilts with bizarre color choices to me. I heard that the judge(s) were artists and not quilters, which may explain some of the peculiar choices. I mean no disrespect to the maker, but the Best of Show left me cold. So quilt on, Marianne, you've got a big fan base, and if your quilts are ever in a big show, I'm banking on "Viewers' Choice" for you!

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  62. Thanks for your comments, Marsha.

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Thanks so much for stopping by and taking the time to comment. I try to respond to all of your wonderful comments....if you are not getting any response from me it's because you are set up as a no-reply blogger. In order to receive a response you can change your status in your blogger profile. I'm no longer accepting anonymous comments.

Thanks again for all your wonderful comments
Marianne

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